Checklist for Accurate Office BP Measurement

September 16, 2020

Office blood pressure measurement technique is relatively simple yet widely prone to error. Check your office procedure against guideline recommendations.

Blood pressure (BP) measurments taken in the clinic setting are subject to a wide range of errors in technique -- however, office BP it is still the most commony used method to diagnose hypertension and to monitor patient responnse to therapy. Recent observational studies have found that basic tenets of best practice such as specific seating and posture in a chair and a 5-minutes rest period before measurment is taken were followed in only half of practices included.

In another study, BP was significantly lower when patients were seated in a chair vs sittling on the exam table in 43.5% of subjects. Based on the 2017 ACC/AHA diagnosis and management of hypertension guideline, compared with BP measured on the table, about 5% of patients would have been misclassified as having elevated BP, and 20.1% of patients would have been misclassified as having hypertension.